Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Christopher Wayne Wiggins, May 25, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Childhood in Corbin, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Alright it's May 25th. I--uh, we're here in Lexington, Kentucky with Chris Wiggins in his, in his home.

Segment Synopsis: Christopher Wiggins talks about growing up in Corbin, Kentucky. He talks about his neighborhood and his parents' relationship.

Keywords: Affectionate; Children; Jasper (Ala.); Kids; Neighborhoods; Parents; Sisters

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Childhood; Corbin (Ky.); Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gays--Family relationships.; Parents of gays.; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556
00:02:36 - His parents' religious and conservative ideas

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Partial Transcript: Well how did your parents--I mean did you get any type of, uh, moral instruction on homosexuality growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about his family's religious beliefs and involvement with the church. He talks about the church's opinions on people who were different. He talks about his father's desire for him to accentuate his masculinity. He talks about the lack of gay culture in the community.

Keywords: Church; Conservative; Deacons; Different; Fathers; Gay culture; Masculine; Mothers; Openly gay; Opinions; Religion; Walking

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gays--Family relationships.; Homosexuality--Religious aspects.; Parents of gays.; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556
00:05:52 - Realization of being gay and early sexual experiences

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Partial Transcript: So how did you deal with this internally?

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about when he realized that he was gay and what he believed would happen if he came out. He talks about his early sexual experiences with his best friend. He talks about his popularity in school and discusses his crushes while in high school.

Keywords: Athletes; Best friends; Crushes; Different; Friendship; Infatuation; Labels; Love; Naive; Optimism; Outgoing; Personality; Popularity; Realizing; Relationships; Sexual experiences; Shy

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay high school students; Gay men--Identity.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay men--Sexual behavior.; Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gays--Identity.; Sexual minorities--Identity.; Sexual minority students.; Sexual minority youth

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556
00:12:44 - Experiences being on the football team in high school

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Partial Transcript: So let's move on from, from high school then.

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about being on the football team in high school. He talks about his fears in the locker room. He talks about the football team's acceptance of an openly gay player.

Keywords: Athletes; Boyfriends; Disappointment; Disbelief; Fear; Football teams; Guilt; Locker rooms; Lying; Openly gay; Paranoia; Self-conscious

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Gay high school students; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gays and sports; Sexual minority students.; Sexual minority youth

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556
00:16:18 - Decision not to come out in high school

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Partial Transcript: So, so you were given an example of this, of this one guy--

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about why he did not come out in high school. He talks more about his father's desire for him to accentuate his masculinity. He talks about how his mother would have reacted if he had come out during high school.

Keywords: Acceptance; Confidence; Different; Examples; Fathers; Fitting in; Masculine; Mothers; Parents; Personality; Reactions; Role models

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gays--Family relationships.; Parents of gays.; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority youth

00:19:48 - Marriage

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Partial Transcript: Let's go to the marriage.

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about graduating high school and attending college. He talks about his college friends and the relationship he formed with a particular friend. He talks about their decision to begin dating, become engaged to each other, and to get married. He talks about telling his fiance that he was gay.

Keywords: College; Dating; Engagement; Friends; Graduation; Lying; Social cliques

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay men--Relations with heterosexual women; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay men--Sexual behavior.; Marriage; Sexual minority college students

00:23:51 - Divorce

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Partial Transcript: Somewhere along the way her academics just kind of fell out from under her.

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about the birth of his daughter and the beginning of the decline of his relationship with his wife. He talks about their divorce and rebuilding their relationship. He talks about his involvement with the gay community.

Keywords: Arguing; Daughters; Dishonesty; Fighting; Friendship; Mia's (Restaurant); Parents; Relationships; Sexual relationships

Subjects: Divorce.; Gay community; Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexual women; Gay parents.; Gays--Family relationships.; Marriage; Sexual minorities' families.; Sexual minority parents.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:30:49 - Reasons for getting married

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Partial Transcript: How did it feel to tell your parents that you were engaged?

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about how he felt when he told his parents he was engaged. He talks about his reasons for getting married. He talks about the trend of marrying young in Appalachia.

Keywords: Engagement; Exciting; Expectations; Fear; Hiding; Love; Parents; Social norms; Young

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Divorce.; Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexual women; Gays--Family relationships.; Marriage; Parents of gays.; Rural families; Sexual minorities' families.

00:35:26 - Violence and bullying

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, Corbin is south of London?

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about the prevalence of extreme conservatism in Corbin and London, Kentucky. He talks about the violence and bullying that occurs, especially in high school. He talks about why people are not targeted for being gay but instead based on vulnerability.He talks about why certain words were chosen to insult others.

Keywords: Conservative; Danger; Immunity; Insults; Name calling; Poor; Poverty; Racism; Slurs; Violence; Weakness

Subjects: African Americans--Appalachian Region; Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Bullying.; Corbin (Ky.); Gay high school students; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay teenagers.; Gay youth; Gays--Violence against; London (Ky.); Sexual minority students.; Sexual minority youth; Stereotypes (Social psychology)

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556
00:43:02 - Coming out to his father and mother

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Partial Transcript: Okay so, uh, let's move forward a little bit to the point where you've gotten your divorce.

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about his experience coming out to his father after his divorce. He talks about how his mother heard the news and her reaction. He discusses how his mother's opinions have changed over time.

Keywords: Advocates; Changes; Divorce; Fathers; Isolation; Mia's (Restaurant); Mothers; Owners; Patrons; Supportive

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Gay men--Family relationships--United States.; Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gays--Family relationships.; Parents of gays.; Sexual minorities' families.

GPS: Lexington (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
00:49:03 - Relationships after his divorce

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Partial Transcript: Now your first, what was your first serious relationship out of that?

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about the serious relationships he had with men after his divorce. He talks about his longest relationship after his marriage, how it began, the time they spent together, and how it ended. He talks about how his expectations for relationships were based upon his parents' relationship.

Keywords: American experience; Dating; Daughters; Divorce; Drinking; End of relationship; Ex-wife; Expectations; LGBT issues; Long term relationships; Marriage; Naive; Parties; Protective; Public attack; Serious relationships; Sexual attraction; Sleeping; Social; Social climate; University of Kentucky (UK); Value; Visible

Subjects: Closeted gays.; Gay couples.; Gay men--United States--Social conditions.; Gay parents.; Gays--United States--Social conditions.; Sexual minority parents.

00:57:58 - Visiting Corbin, Kentucky now

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Partial Transcript: Okay so we're approaching an hour here so I'm gonna backtrack--

Segment Synopsis: Wiggins talks about how often he goes back to visit Corbin, Kentucky. He talks about his experience returning for his high school reunion and gives his opinion on how everyone reacted to him being openly gay. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Acknowledgement; Being out; Daughters; Denial; Eastern Kentucky University (EKU); Football teams; Friends; High school reunions; Lexington (Ky.); Omission; Returning home; Richmond (Ky.); Talking; Uncomfortable; Vigilant; Visiting

Subjects: Appalachian Region, Southern--Social life and customs.; Corbin (Ky.); Gay men--Relations with heterosexuals; Gay men--United States--Social conditions.; Gays--United States--Social conditions.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Lesbian and gay experience; Sexual minorities' families.

GPS: Corbin (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.941667, -84.095556